Compassion- an amazing trait you learn when you grieve

“Compassion is an amazing trait you learn when you grieve” thoughts shared in this story of death, grief and the experience of a deep dark well.

Living in the Bottom of a Well

By Sheri Hall

Sheri & baby Lily

You look up you see a small circle of light-it is the way out. It is seemingly far away but closer than you think. It is very small; you do not want to look up. You look around at the stone walls that surround you, most would feel claustrophobic but not you. Here is where you can be you. Here is where you can feel sad, look sad, be sad without those around you being uncomfortable. The ones that see you down there might stop and yell. Are you ok? Or how are you? But they don’t want to hear the answer- so you tell them what they want to hear- I’m ok or I’m fine and they go on their way. Some bring you flowers and place them nicely in a circle around your well, this cheers them up, and this makes them feel like they are being sympathetic. Why flowers? Is it my birthday? Are we celebrating something? They look nice so now when you walk by my well, with me hiding in the bottom curled in a ball, not daring to look up. You do not feel so sad because you see all the beautiful flowers and think -Wow look at how many people care! That makes them feel better- those flowers do not cheer me up, I am not celebrating my childs death, when the flowers die I must throw them away, it is a task I cannot do nor want to do.

I look around at my hole I have been thrown down; I do not want to climb out. Here I am comforted by my pain. Here I am not pretending. Here I am me.

No one wants to go down a well; you may not be able to get out! But when you lose a child, when you hold them in your arms as they die, you fall down that well, at some point you wake up. You realize what has happened, it may be weeks, months or days, but it hits you like a brick, you are stuck at the bottom of this deep dark well. It echoes your cries, as well as your tears that fall to the cement floor like bombs. You re-live the most painful of memories down there. You want every one to stay out! This is not a problem since no one wants to join you down there; no one wants to see that pain. People tend to look at grief & tragedy as though-What if that happened to me?  They are not thinking of your pain. They want to cheer you up- they want to cook for you- which is very nice, but hard when you do not taste anything let alone want to eat. You shove the food in your freezer, you say thank you, and they feel better & go on their way. People say things like -I didn’t want to upset you, as though not mentioning it means you are not thinking about it. I have come to realize this society doesn’t cope well with death, everyone wants to acknowledge it once then for it to go away, some do not say anything at all to pretend like nothing happened, those are the selfish people. I have seen how I have become invisible to some or perhaps they don’t want to see me? Because they do not want to think about what happened to me. Some people think negativity breeds negativity- that could not be farther from the truth. Yes negative people are not fun to be around, but negative or more accurately -a tragedy is not caused by anything. It is life. Life is full of suffering, we all suffer at different times in life & how we deal with other people suffering really shows our true character. The best is to ask a person that is grieving about the person that died, because they do want to talk about them, they want you not to feel uncomfortable when they are being sad- because it is ok to be sad. Unfortunately we live in a world that prefers fake realities & big smiles over having to deal with or accept our feelings & hurts. So we simply do not talk about it. We cheer you up we bring you flowers.

If we were able to grieve without being concerned of making others uncomfortable with our sadness, without being so concerned what we look like then maybe we would not feel like we were stuck in the bottom of a well. One day I will climb out to face the world. One day we all climb out. And one day when I walk past someone else stuck in a well I will join them, and help them cry because it is ok to be sad. All we can do is to learn how to be -How to be ourselves, how to be there for others.  Compassion is an amazing trait that you learn when you grieve.

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